DILG says road clearing going smoothly, urges mayors to sustain ops

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2019   •   963

Clearing operations in Caloocan City demolish illegally-built structures encroaching the sidewalks.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday said the government’s road clearing operations have been going smoothly less than a month before the 60-day deadline set for all local government units (LGU).

The DILG said that as of Tuesday, a total of 139,959 meters of roads and 52,831 meters of sidewalks in in Metro Manila have been reportedly cleared of obstructions and illegal structures.  

“We are pleased with the support, cooperation, and compliance of Metro mayors to the presidential directive but we need to do more and we expect them to sustain their efforts in order to help clear the streets of Metro Manila of traffic,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

“Our operations further resulted to 1,444 illegal vendors, 49 terminals (tricycle, jeepney, pedicab, etc), 1,292 illegally parked vehicles, and 813 obstructions (booth, monoblocs, etc) displaced from our roads,” he added.

Año said a sizeable portion of all LGUs nationwide or 43.3% have reported conducting road-clearing operations in their localities. 

He cited a report from the DILG’s Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS) which showed 13 LGUs to have implemented ordinances on road clearing operations as of September 2. While four others, including Makati City, Malabon City, San Juan City, and Pateros, have issued executive orders and established task forces to carry out the road clearing operations.

LGUs in Metro Manila have also completed an inventory of roads and conducted road clearing operations as ordered under the DILG Memorandum No. 2019-121 issued in July.

According to DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, Metro Manila is the top complying region to the road clearing memo based on the BLGS report.

It is followed by Cagayan Valley with 77.5% of its LGUs complying, Central Luzon with 62.3%, Central Visayas with 58.3%, CALABARZON with 53.5%, and Western Visayas with 52.6%.

Malaya says that BLGS data show that 707 LGUs in the country reported having conducted road clearing operations; 397 LGUs reported having enacted or revisited their ordinance relating to road clearing and banning of illegal construction; 931 reported to have completed an inventory of roads within their jurisdiction; 668 reported having displacement strategies in place for those affected by the clearing operations; and 609 reported to have rehabilitation efforts on recovered public roads.

Amid ongoing road clearing efforts, Año called on all government agencies and barangays to sustain the operations and self-demolish structures encroaching on public sidewalks.

“Please do not wait for the DILG to call your attention. National government agencies are also covered by the Presidential directive,” he said.

The DILG chief said that he would review the accomplishments of all LGUs after the 60-day deadline on September 29. Año warned that local officials who are unable to comply with the order of the President would face sanctions ranging from a reprimand, suspension, to dismissal from the service.

Passengers without confirmed flights won’t be allowed at airports, DILG says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reiterated its call on passengers not to go to the airports as they will not be allowed to go in if their flights and tickets are not confirmed.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said strict health protocols are being implemented in airports amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and operations of airlines and other transportation companies are bound by these rules.

With the limited flights currently allowed to operate, Malaya stressed that “going to the airport without a confirmed flight or ticket is a waste of energy and time and will just lead to frustration.”

He advised passengers to contact the airlines to ensure that their flights are confirmed to avoid inconvenience.

He also reminded passengers that all tickets purchased prior to the pandemic have already been cancelled by the airlines and will need to be rebooked based on the new schedule of flights approved by airport authorities.

“Patuloy po ang paalala natin sa ating mga kababayan na huwag pong magpunta sa mga airport or seaports kung wala po tayong confirmed na flight,” he said.

“Mangyari lamang po na makipag-ugnayan kayo sa inyong airline kung confirmed ang inyong flight. Mapapagod lang po kayo sa biyahe at masasayang ang pera ninyo at mauuwi lang po ito sa wala,” he added.

Malaya also said that walk-in customers will not be able to purchase tickets at the airports as all flights are regulated in coordination with the airline companies.

“Even if you were issued a ticket by the airline, you will have to confirm that prior to going to the airport because there may have been some changes in flight schedules. Moreover, all tickets issued prior to the pandemic are canceled and will not be honored by airport authorities,” he said.

The Department of Transportation, through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), earlier released an advisory requiring all airlines to secure accurate information, especially the contact details of all passengers, even those who purchased tickets from travel agencies, to ensure that they will be properly notified by the airlines if flights are canceled. Moreover, the said information may also be helpful in future contact tracing purposes.

The CAB also directed all airlines “to make appropriate public announcements advising individuals who have purchased tickets prior to the COVID-19 crisis that their flights are canceled and that they need to rebook accordingly.”

So far, only 29 airports nationwide are open for operation and even in airports allowed to operate, there are limited flight schedules upon the request of Local Government Units, the DILG said.

DILG tells LGUs to digitize transactions amid COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday urged local government units (LGUs) to move towards digitized transactions to reduce contact and impede further transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the country continues to fight the pandemic.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año called on LGUs to fast-track the issuance of permits and clearances in setting up crucial infrastructure needed for digital connectivity across the country including the construction of cell sites to improve internet connectivity.

“The millions working from home, the students looking forward to on-line learning, and the workers who depend on the digital economy are all expecting government to address the gaps in our internet infrastructure,” Año said.

“We therefore encourage all LGUs to beef up their digital platforms in their communities as we move towards the new normal,” he added.

He also said that going digital is the “call of the time,” but more than technological advancement, digitized government and consumer transactions are precautionary measures that can contribute immensely to impeding virus transmission.

In the same statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that digital platforms can be an important partner of LGUs in ensuring the health and safety of the public while promoting economic growth. 

“You have to strike a balance. We must begin the economic recovery even as we fight COVID,” he said.

Malaya also noted that LGUs have a key role in bolstering the digital platform, not just in government services but also in building business and consumer confidence during these trying times.

He likewise said that LGUs must encourage businesses to veer towards online money transfer instead of physical payment as part of the new normal.

“Many businesses have now been engaging the financial services provided by major payment gateways such as Smart Padala, Gcash, PayMaya, Google, and Click2Pay that have drastically changed our experience in making online payments – from the conventional “pasaload” to a more sophisticated process of online payment,” he said.

Malaya also said that cashless payments have also helped in the fast distribution of the second batch of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) subsidy.

The government likewise advocates the use of online payment for taxes and mandatory social contributions, such as GSIS, BIR, SSS, PagIBIG, and PhilHealth, he added.

“Despite some security issues that the government assures can be countered, online payment is also seen to reduce red tape and cost of doing business as all government agencies, through the Ease of Doing Business Act, are mandated to automate their processes including payment of taxes, fees, and charges,” he said.

Duterte to meet with AFP, PNP commanders following Jolo incident

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to fly to Mindanao to meet with top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the wake of the killing of four soldiers by policemen in Jolo, Sulu last Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday.

Año, however, did not disclose the date and place of the president’s upcoming meeting with police and military commanders.

The Interior Secretary, who supervises the PNP, also said that Duterte may possibly talk to nine policemen involved in the shooting of soldiers.

“The president is going to the south to talk to our PNP and AFP commanders, sabi ko nga kung may time pa siya ay kakausapin niya yung mga suspek,” Año said.

Malacañang said the president was saddened by the incident between the police and military officers.

He has also ordered for the National Bureau of Investigation to expedite the release of its probe findings.

The Palace also denied that the incident is the result of the alleged state-sponsored extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration as claimed by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“Hindi po natin kinukunsinte ang patayan kaya nga po masinsinang imbestigasyon ang ginagawa natin dito sa pagpatay sa 4 na sundalo sa hukbong sandatahan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Año echoed Roque’s statement as he assured that those responsible for the Jolo incident will be held accountable.

“Extrajudicial killing is not the policy of this government and the Sulu incident, we will exact justice and make sure those responsible shall be accountable, umasa kayo diyan. Ako mismo ang personal na nag-follow up ng kaso,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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